Taylor Appointed as Inaugural Director of Civil Rights and Affirmative Action

Nicholas Taylor, inaugural director of civil rights and affirmative action at Bemidji State. Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College have appointed Nicholas Taylor as the the inaugural director of civil rights and affirmative action. In his role, Taylor’s primary responsibilities will include fostering an inclusive, accessible and diverse campus experience related to the missions of BSU and NTC.

“I am grateful and energized for this opportunity to serve as Bemidji State and Northwest Tech’s director of civil rights & affirmative action,” Taylor said. “I look forward to infusing my passion and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism into the work we do every day.”

In this role, Taylor will also facilitate efforts to ensure equal opportunities for students and employees from recruiting to retention, increase awareness of diversity issues through advising and training, and strengthen relationships across diverse groups.

“I am committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce for our institutions, as well as innovating the way that we hire and develop our talented employees,” he said.

Additionally, Taylor will be responsible for BSU and NTC compliance with policies, procedures and regulations related to affirmative action set forth by the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities.

Steven D. Parker, campus diversity officer for Bemidji State and Northwest Tech, said hiring a director of civil rights and affirmative action directly aligns with Minnesota State’s Equity 2030 goals, which aim to eliminate educational equity gaps at all Minnesota State colleges and universities by 2030. This strategic plan is intended to guide and inform equity and inclusion work in the immediate and long-term future between 2020-2025. Taylor’s appointment is also directly associated with the diversity, equity and inclusion strategic plans for both institutions.

“I am excited and feel very fortunate to have Nicholas with us,” Parker said. “We recognize that to close the educational equity gaps we must build intentional systems and cultural change; coordinate, innovate, and build capacity; and remain steadfast in our leadership and empowerment.”

Taylor previously served as interim affirmative action officer at St. Cloud State University before his appointment as interim affirmative action officer at Bemidji State and Northwest Tech in July 2021. In this interim position, Taylor developed capacity for BSU and NTC to infuse data and assessment into the hiring process, initiated procurement of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility employee training, and participated in a Minnesota State system of colleges and universities task force to solidify appropriate coding for faculty and staff positions within the system. He looks forward to further pursuing data utilization in decision making, working to develop the 2022-2024 Affirmative Action Plan and growing employee retention programs for the institutions.

A descendant of the Métis peoples of Canada and U.S. military veterans, Taylor holds a bachelor’s degree in humanities and a master’s degree in higher education administration. During his career, he has engaged in addressing inequity of outcomes for students and has advocated for racial justice, veteran reintegration, LGBTQIA2S+ rights, and addressed the stigma associated with disability in all forms.

“As institutions of higher education, we cannot hesitate in addressing systemic inequities in the outcomes of our students, staff and faculty,” Taylor said. “It is specifically in our institutions where we can address representation, access, opportunity and empowerment.”

Taylors’s appointment begins immediately.